The Sakas

Facts related to Uttar Pradesh

  • Shakas had set up their Kshsatraps in Mathura.
  • The brahmi inscription s of Mora(Mathura ) is associated with Sakas.
  • The Sakas conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60BCE. Some of their satraps were Hangamasha and Hagana, who were in turn followed by the Saka Great Satrap Rajuvula.
  • The Mathura Lion Capital inscriptions attest that Mathura fell under the control of the Sakas. The inscriptions contain references to Kharaosta Kamuio and Aiyasi Kamuia. Yuvaraja Kharostes (Kshatrapa) was the son of Arta, as is attested by his own coins.
  • Arta is stated to be brother of King Moga or Maues. Princess Aiyasi Kambojaka, also called Kambojika, was the chief queen of Shaka Mahakshatrapa Rajuvula. Kamboja presence in Mathura is also verified from some verses of the epic, the Mahabharata, which are believed to have been composed around this period.
  • The Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura are sometimes called the “Northern Satraps”, as opposed to the “Western Satraps” ruling in Gujarat and Malwa. After Rajuvula, several successors are known to have ruled as vassals to the Kushans, such as the “Great Satrap” Kharapallana and the “Satrap” Vanaspara, who are known from an inscription discovered in Sarnath, and dated to the 3rd year of Kanishka (c 130 CE), in which they were paying allegiance to the Kushans.




The Sakas

The indo-Greek rule in India was primarily destroyed by the Sakas.

  • Sakas were the Scythians, which refer to ancient Iranian people of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists. 
  • In Sanskrit they are referred as Sakas.
  • The 2nd century BC saw an upheaval in the Central Asia. The invasion by the Central Asian nomadic tribes and tribes from the Chinese region was responsible for the migration of the Sakas towards India.


Maues (80-65 BC)

  • Maues or Moga was the earliest Shaka ruler.
  • He established Shaka power in Gandhara and ruled around 80-60BC
  • His capital was ”Sirkap” and he issued a large number of copper coins and few silver coins.
  • Some sources indicate that he assumed the title of ” maharaja mahatma ” and his coins are bearing the images of Indian deities’ viz. Shiva, and Buddha.
  • He used Greek and Kharoshthi in coin legends.


Moga inscription

Moga inscription refers to the Taxila copper plate. Taxila copper plate was found in area of Taxila in modern Pakistan. Taxila copper plate bears a precise data and it is written in Kharoshthi. This inscription is ascribed to Shaka king Moga.

  • It was the Taxila Copper Plate which has mentioned about the dedication of a relic of the Buddha Shakyamuni to a Buddhist monastery by the Shaka ruler Patika Kusulaka.
  • Patika Kusulaka is also mentioned in Mathura lion capital.





Azes-I & Azes II

  • Maues and his successors were able to conquer large the areas of Gandhara, they were unsuccessful against the indo-Greek kings remaining behind the Jhelum river in eastern Punjab.
  • But it was Azes-I who put an end to the remnant of the Greek rule in India.
  • Azes-I annexed the kingdom of the Indo-Greek Hippostratos after a long resistance.
  • In 58 BC, Azes-I founded the Azes Era, which coincides with the Vikram Era in India.
  • Azes-I was succeeded by Azilises, who was succeeded by Azes II.
  • There are some coins issued jointly be Azes-I and Azilises and jointly issued by Azilises and Azes II.
  • Azes II reigned between the 35 and 12 BC and he is considered to be the last Shaka ruler and was lost to Kushanas.
  • Kushanas led to the foundation of Kushana Empire in North West India.



Bimaran casket

Bimaran casket was found in Jalalabad, Pakistan between 1833 to 1838. This casket is important because it was found having the coins of Azes II.

  • It features the representations of Buddha surrounded by India deities Brahma and Indra as bodhisattvas.
  • The Buddha is standing posture with bundled hair and wears a dhoti.
  • It was found in a steatite which was having some inscriptions.
  • The Bimaran casket is the First & Earliest known image of the Standing Buddha.

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